Here I was again. From the time I was nine each time my mom went to the hospital I would wonder "Is this it?". "Will she survive?". My mother is now ninety-two and has been the victim of fifteen strokes, seventeen heart attacks and Parkinsons. She also suffers severe and sudden changes in mental status from time to time. Hers had been a lifetime of suffering to make one wonder "Why"?

Isolated by the loss of speech which left her uttering only a garbled jumble of words only I learned to understand, she was alone in her mental torment of youthful disablity. My father could not understand her nor could neighbors, friends or even other family members. Although called by many in our neighborhood "the mute", she was well liked and respected by all she met. When my father passed away, I had her come live with me and my daughter only to be reminded of her stubborn persistence! She would infuriate me when I had no idea where she was at eleven o'clock at night and only after calling every police station and hospital in Brooklyn (NY)would she stroll into the door sayaing she had been to the movies! She never left a note to say where she was planning to go or called when she was not in by 5pm when she decided to galavant. She could not, in her love of independence, accept that I was afraid. Afraid that a woman who could not speak, much less scream, could be attacked or murdered. Afraid that she would collapse and emergency room staff would just think she was demented and medicate her unnecessarily. You see, I have always been her voice. Yet, I never voiced my fears to anyone, not even to myself.

This last year has been very hard on her healthwise. Fortunately, she now resides in a very good nursing care facility where she has been for the last ten years due to the sudden need for twenty-four hour nursing monitoring.
She has made her trips to the emergency room in those years and has stayed in the hospital on more than once occasion but still-this year I asked myself more times than I wanted to,"Is this it?" "Will she survive?".

As a pagan spiritualist the issue of life-death-life is a major belief. It is what, we and especially, I believe in. But I am a pragmatist. I am more than aware that life is not just moseying around waiting for the next life. As a social worker for developmentally disabled people for almost twenty years I had seen real life up close. For me, it was personal because I saw disability happen when I was nine years old.

So, recently I was there again, in the same situation, seeing my mother on a gurney in an emergency room wondering if this was it. I wondering how much much she, a ninety-two year old woman now totally helpless and dependent on total care could take. She seemed so small, like a broken doll but unlike a broken doll she has her mental faculties they are simply trapped in a body no one but me can understand. No one but me can hear her when she speaks and since she has no voice, I continue to be hers.

She was admitted and this time, due to high fevers, there were days she not know me or afterwards recall that I had been there everyday for hours to be her voice. Each day that she did not know me I worried if she had had another stroke, would she survive and if she did, would she ever remember me again?

In those ten days I re-evaluated a lot of things. Firstly, as a spiritualist,I mused angels indeed must have walked with her all those years but I also realized that there was and had been little in her life to enjoy. Would I have been able to in the same sitation? I have heard nursing homes referred to as "God's Waiting Room" but never had it struck a chord as much as this. It had not dawned on me that perhaps her will to live was concreted in love- her love for me- because despite our disagreements (and there were many) we were together for as long as I could remember.

Knowing that this material life is not eternal I suddenly realized that the question was not so much would she survive but, how could I? When so much of your life has been wrapped around someone, especially your mother, how do you survive when the need to be there is gone? I then realized my worries were as much about me as about her. My belief system is as much about action as reflection so the first thing I did was pray. I prayed for the outcome that would be for her greater good whether I would understand it not, whether I wanted it or not. I prayed with trust that creator would deemed what the best was and I especially prayed that I would accept it.

In praying for surviving without mom, I had great cause to think on what I had learned from her. I had learned to laugh no matter what, that the mind is stronger than the body, to live life with faith and never quit.

So many years, such great lessons and what a dunce I was to have never dwelled on these as much as I should have. My mother is still with me, thank Hecate and Creator. I will be priviledge to be there for her and this time when I am her voice, I will be witness to my lessons.

Author's Bio: 

Cate Cavanagh is a published poet and columnist in New York. Her new book, "Gifts Of the Spirit" is published by PublishAmerica and available on Http://